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The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the right approach to SMS messages and consumer outreach helped Belterra Casino Resort hit the jackpot with excited text-friendly consumers.

There’s nothing quite like the rush of hitting it big when the stakes are high and the pressure is on. That being said, watching a great text message campaign come together is at least a pretty close second. For the managers and marketing gurus at Belterra Casino Resort, a recent SMS initiative showed that when you come in with a smart plan, even if it’s your first time using this platform, there’s no reason you can’t get in on the fun and connect with the customers that matter most. To learn a little more about how this luxury resort wowed its first time crowd, let’s look at the particulars of this program and see what your brand can put to use the next time you start sending messages to your targeted audience.

A Little Background Before the SMS Run

Before digging into the technical side of the text message campaign, it’s important to understand why the people at Belterra decided to jump in head first with this approach. Despite a robust regular audience, the operators at this casino couldn’t help but feel like they were leaving something on the table with the lack of an SMS branch within the brand’s marketing operations. To bridge this gap and achieve optimal advertising reach, Belterra set out to build a mobile database of interested consumers from the ground up. This way, the organization could connect with visitors on a regular basis and spread the word on upcoming deals and promotions.

Breaking down the SMS Process

With this goal in mind, the foundation for an active text database started coming together. First, the casino decided to target patrons in local metropolitan areas – particularly Louisville and Lexington in Kentucky and Cincinnati in Ohio. Once it had its sights set on these consumers, the next step was generating some activity with a sweepstakes. As part of this giveaway, customers that texted in “BELTERRA” to 74642 received an entry into the promotion. From here, the casino utilized the double opt-in method to confirm user participation and provide an additional 10 chances to win the grand prize – a one-night stay at the hotel and a $100 resort credit.

Hitting the SMS Jackpot

After the one-month campaign came to a close, Belterra had plenty of reasons to file this one under the SMS success label. To start, thousands of customers from each area responded to the outreach program, instantly generating a mobile marketing list that would make plenty of other brands jealous. From here, almost 60 percent of the respondents completed the double opt-in process, providing ample motivation to keep the interactive SMS messages flowing in the future. Even if this campaign wasn’t aiming at building an initial SMS contact list, it’d be hard to view this promotion as anything but a major payoff for the team at Belterra Casino Resort.

Rolling the Dice for Your Brand

So now that you’re all caught up on Belterra’s initial SMS offering, what lessons can you take for your brand’s next, or potentially first, foray into the text message arena? At the top of the list is a recurring theme in many of these case studies – honing in on your target audience. Of course, there is a very important reason that this concept pops up often. If you don’t have the right audience in your crosshairs, it’s nearly impossible to maximize your impact once the messages starting popping up on consumer phone screens.

Additionally, utilizing every tool at your disposal, including double opt-in programs, ensures that your contact list trims away the fat and holds only the customers that actually plan to connect with your brand messages now and in the future. Finally, and perhaps the most important of all the lessons learned from this case study, if you really want to interact with these shoppers, don’t hold back on the giveaways. Pairing up an astonishing promotion – in this case a free night at the casino and $100 in resort credit – with the rest of what you’ve learned from Belterra’s move into the world of SMS marketing is a strong way to make a splash of your own when your brand starts sending messages to interested consumers in your area.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How great timing and a smart campaign put Route 66 Harley-Davidson on the fast track for SMS success.

Few things personify enjoying the freedom of the open road like hitting the highway on a Harley-Davidson. However, despite being one of the most iconic brands in the automotive world, the rise of manufacturers like Honda and Ducati have taken a serious bite out of the sales of Harley-Davidson dealerships, according to a report from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally’s “Rally News” blog. To battle back against these dipping sales, Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma decided to get a little cozier with shoppers during the holiday season via smart SMS marketing. To see how this text message push brought the Christmas spirit to Route 66’s customers, and pumped up sales in a major way, let’s break down the dealership’s approach to mobile marketing and see what your brand can use for its next SMS campaign.

Building a Savvy SMS Plan

To start, the dealership wanted to play on the concept of the “12 Days of Christmas” by offering unique deals and specials to members of its mobile marketing contact list. Aside from handing out valuable discounts for those looking to pick up accessories or parts for their favorite bikes, the campaign made great use of the buzz surrounding the holiday season. For each of the 12 days that made up the campaign a text message made its way to the inbox of participating members, revealing a redeemable offer related to a product sold in-store.

To give you an idea of how this worked, let’s look at Leather Jacket Day. As the seventh day of the Christmas promotion, seven different styles of motorcycle Jacket were sold at a 20 percent discount. While it might not be “seven swans a swimming” like the original version of this tune, having a deal like that come straight to their phones was music to the ears of the bike fanatics that make up Route 66’s mobile contact list.

Going the Extra Mile

Of course, no top-notch SMS initiative is complete without a solid push to gain new membership. With this in mind, Route 66 Harley-Davidson pulled out all the stops when it came time to promote its 12 Days of Christmas campaign. Social media, in-store advertisement, and reconnecting with past customers who might be interested helped swell the ranks of the list and ensure that these offers didn’t go to waste. After spending some time bolstering its contacts, the dealership began to fire off these deals once a day, creating a sense of excitement and anticipation among the shoppers looking to pick up something special during the holiday season.

Reaping the Rewards

So for all this hard work, what did Route 66 Harley-Davidson gain? To start, the owners noticed a stark upswing in general foot traffic at the dealership, as well as the obvious gains in its SMS contact list. This increased amount of customers in the store naturally led to a significant boost in sales – particularly with the promoted items. On T-shirt Day, sales of these shirts jumped to 250 percent of the numbers posted on an average day. Helmet Day saw the same amount of these high dollar items sold in one business day as what the dealership sold for the entire previous week. While we could go on and on with the stats that support each day, you can already see that this campaign was nothing short of a massive success for Route 66.

Finding the Road to SMS Success for Your Brand

It might seem like all you have to do to follow in the footsteps, or tire marks, of Route 66 Harley-Davidson is to slap a few texts together and send them to your contact list. However, the truth is that there’s plenty that can go wrong if you don’t pull things off just right. To help propel you to the same heights, you’ll need to put an emphasis on offering deals that actually matter. Whether it’s discounting high dollar items or running specials on normally expensive services, finding a way to add value to the customer is key. Also, planning your campaign around upcoming events, like the holiday season, is a smart way to generate some extra buzz. If you can put these practices to good use, you’ll find yourself in the fast lane heading toward major SMS success in no time.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships brought great mobile messages to car shoppers down in Florida.

Cruising by the beach with the top down and the sun shining on a beautiful day seems like all the advertising a dealership would need to sell cars in Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately for the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships, playing on the appeal of the good weather and location just wasn’t enough. With a plethora of competitors using the same tactics to sway shoppers looking for a new car away from these affiliated dealerships, this group – consisting of authorized Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Wheego dealers – had to shift into high gear with a smart text campaign to beat the heat. To learn more about this strategy, let’s take a moment to break down the particulars of the campaign and how your brand can put these lessons to good use.

Setting the Stage for SMS Success

With car lots and service centers located on both sides of the St. Johns River, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships already had the infrastructure in place to offer a great customer experience to the people of Jacksonville. However, plenty of businesses have had the same foundation, but couldn’t seal the deal due to insufficient customer awareness. To get the message out about the cars currently in stock, the people in control of this dealership group decided to kick things up a notch with a smart and engaging SMS campaign.

At the heart of this promotion was a “text-to-win” contest. Essentially, potential customers and anyone else interested in the Nimnicht brand were encouraged to fire off a text to the dealership for a chance to win a variety of prizes. To help get the word out, this campaign used available billboard space and online ad content, in addition to local TV and radio spots, to connect with the local population. With nearly 1.5 million people living in Jacksonville and surrounding areas, it’s easy to see why this dealership group exhausted every venue available when building its SMS contact list.

Going Beyond the Basics

However, all of this was just the first phase of the project. Once excited customers participated in the text-to-win promotion, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships went above and beyond by rolling out a second initiative based off of these new members to the texting list. For those expressing interest in hearing about new car offers during phase one of the campaign, the next wave of messages helped connect these mobile consumers with sales professionals that were ready and willing to walk shoppers through the process of finding the perfect new or used car.

The Big Finish

While the idea of a multi-tiered text campaign might seem a little overbearing at first, the results this dealership organization produced tell an entirely different tale. In total, over 4,000 people signed up to experience the fun and interactive text-to-win portion of the SMS initiative. This stat is pretty impressive on its own, but the people running the campaign weren’t satisfied with just good enough.

From here, the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships indentified and pursued leads from within these interested customers. Of this second wave, 9.25 percent were workable leads, giving the sales force for this dealership group more than enough customers to keep them busy in the following months. In short, this campaign surpassed plenty of expectations, easily entering the ranks of other resounding SMS success stories.

Polishing Your Own Text Message Campaign

So now that you know the story of how the Nimnicht Family of Dealerships left its competition in the dust with great SMS messages, what can you do to make your next campaign go over just as well? To start, leave no stone unturned. Whether you’re doing radio spots or in-store promotions, getting the word out about your initiative and growing your list is extremely important. Once you do this, don’t be afraid to reconnect with your customers and go beyond the basics. As this dealership group demonstrated, having a plan with several layers that goes beyond signing people up is a powerful approach. With the Nimnicht example and some savvy SMS knowledge guiding you along the way, there’s nothing that can stop your next text message campaign from joining the other successful brands found within these case studies.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How our friends at Pizza Hut in the United Kingdom took SMS marketing to amazing technical heights with a creative campaign.

While it might seem like a crazy case of SMS déjà vu considering we’ve already covered Papa John’s campaign in England, this week’s case study takes us back across the pond to see how Pizza Hut used the mobile phone inbox to pump up sales in a big way. Naturally, you’re probably thinking that the overlap between these two studies should be pretty significant considering that both are about the connection between SMS strategies and delicious pizza, fresh out of the oven. However, if you take a few moments to read on, you’ll soon see that these two approaches to great text messages come from opposite ends of the spectrum, creating a unique take on what really gets an audience into their local pizza outlets.

Understanding the Goal

While the goal of any SMS campaign is to build up interest and excitement with customers on the go, Pizza Hut was also looking to draw some hard comparisons between texting with customers and more traditional methods of advertising – namely online and TV ad space acquisitions. At first glance, it might seem like there’s no comparison between these options considering the power behind the Internet and how much brands spend on television spots that reach millions of viewers. However, Pizza Hut decided to stick with the campaign and let the stats speak for themselves once the 15-month trial period came to a close.

Adding in the Geofence Concept

Of course, no great SMS case study hinges on just talking about the battle between text messaging and other marketing outlets. As part of a hi-tech approach to connecting with customers, Pizza Hut decided to set up a “geofence” that encompassed 340 locations in the country. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, a geofence is essentially a virtual signal net that tracks and targets customers that come within a certain range of the indicators – in this case, the Pizza Hut locations. While this might sound like something straight out of Star Trek, it was actually just a clever way to make use of GPS technology that’s already made its way into countless devices around the world.

Unveiling the Complete Program

For any member of the brand’s SMS contact list that came within a half mile of these restaurants, Pizza Hut sent a special text promotion inviting the customer to come in and enjoy a limited-time offer. Depending on the time and location, coupons and discounts on specialty items and menu staples all served as enticing deals. Considering that these customers were already in the neighborhood after leaving work or school with the kids, building a plan entirely off of location based marketing was clearly a clever way to break the standard SMS mold with some smart technology.

Reviewing the Results

Before going any farther, it’s important to note that Pizza Hut’s findings were adjusted to make a fair comparison with the other advertising channels. Lining up raw numbers between Internet ads and television spots that air to millions around the world isn’t fair when viewed against zooming in on the population surrounding these particular restaurants. Instead, the brand decided to normalize the findings and draw comparisons that are more accurate between the methods.

By itself, this SMS campaign ended up increasing incremental sales by 142 percent when compared to not connecting with customers on the go at all. Clearly, that’s a great result on its own, but it gets even better when you expand this discussion to include television and Internet options. After adjusting the stats for a fair comparison, Pizza Hut found that this advertising channel was 4.4 times more effective than TV spots and 2.6 times more effective than Internet ads. When viewed from that angle, it’s hard to deny the power of offering deals to people on the phones they never leave home without.

Is This Right for Your Business?

After reading this, you might think the only way to get the most out of your SMS campaign is to set up a geofence of your own and follow in Pizza Hut’s footsteps. While that’s definitely a good idea if you’re a technology buff with an ample marketing budget, the truth of the matter is that you don’t have to go this route if you want to connect with your customers. Even a standard text campaign that hits on the basics – offering a great and timely deal to your contact list – can get you over the hump and ensure that your audience always takes a moment to stop by when they’re in your neighborhood.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How putting an emphasis on savings helped fuel increased opt-in rates for Lifetouch Portraits.

While it might be a little overused, there’s still some credence to the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. When it comes to your mobile marketing strategy, the same can definitely be said about a great case study example. For that very reason, now is a great time to look at how Lifetouch Portraits switched things up a bit to grab additional opt-ins from an audience that was still on the fence about sharing text information with a brand. Whether your mobile campaign is well underway or you’re just learning about the benefits of reaching out via this channel to your customers, there’s plenty you can learn by taking a snapshot of Lifetouch Portraits’ success.

Approaching the Problem From a Different Angle

If you’ve kept up with this series of case studies, then you know that most of the brands we’ve highlighted have approached SMS growth via a roughly outlined set of rules and methods. Generally, the process goes something like this; the brand in question starts collecting phone numbers and opt-ins with the promise of a deal at a later date, then delivers in a big way that excites the audience. While there’s definitely nothing wrong with this strategy, Lifetouch Portraits decided that it had a better way of connecting with consumers on their mobile phones.

At the core of this approach was an upfront deal for interested shoppers. In exchange for opting-in to the program, customers received an immediate $5 off of any of the numerous photography services offered by the brand – no strings attached. Instead of having to wait for the deal, shoppers could sign up and instantly save some cash in-store or on the way to a photo shoot. Clearly, it’s hard to pass up on this kind of discount, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t come with a least a few questions surrounding this upfront approach.

Concerns about Opting out

At this point, you’re probably thinking that all customers did was sign-up, save a few bucks, and then opt-out as soon as possible. While there’s no denying that some people decided to measure their time on the contact list in minutes and not months, this course of action was not nearly as prevalent as you’d think. In fact, only about 2.3 percent of customers unsubscribed after snagging a quick discount with a brand that’s willing to offer front-loaded incentives as part of its mobile campaign. Generally speaking, it’s safe to say that if you do right by customers with your initial offer they’ll be more than happy to stick around and see what’s next on the list of great text deals.

Capturing the Moment of Success

So just how successful was Lifetouch Portraits’ SMS campaign? As part of the initial $5 discount push, this photography and development service saw text message opt-in rates jump by 163 percent during the campaign. In short, what was once a trickle of interest in what the company had to offer to customers on the go turned into a veritable flood of interested shoppers looking to save a few bucks on their next visit. After enjoying this initial surge of opt-ins, Lifetouch Portraits still commands an expansive and constantly growing audience that’s always excited to read about the brand’s next great text deal.

Figuring out Your Brand’s Strategy

Even if you’re brand is in a completely different industry, there’s plenty you can take away from this case study to help build your own successful, upfront text messaging campaign. The first part of the process is offering up a deal or discount that can really wow your audience. While the $5 savings might not seem like a lot from a big picture perspective, Lifetouch Portraits knew that frugal customers wouldn’t be able to turn away from this kind of meaningful savings on an upcoming purchase. After you decide on your own deal or discount to tie into the opt-in process, giving these customers a reason to stay subscribed is the next step. Recurring offers, informational content, and limited time discounts all fill this role more than adequately. Once you have these two pieces of the puzzle in place, you can sit back and watch your opt-in rate, and brand awareness, take off to previously unimaginable levels.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: A return to the quick service food industry with a look at how one Papa John’s franchise went above and beyond with great SMS messages.

When it comes to mobile marketing and the quick service food industry, it’s easy to see that these two industries are clearly a match made in heaven. While it’s true that we’ve covered plenty of food related case studies that have made a strong case for SMS messages – and probably added a distinct rumbling in your stomach – Papa John’s franchise serves as the centerpiece of this study has plenty of new ideas to add to the ongoing discussion. With that in mind, let’s take a look at how our friends across the pond set up a wildly successful text marketing plan and what it could mean for your business if you decide to follow in their footsteps.

Setting up a Smart Text Plan

For the owners of this particular Papa John’s franchise in the U.K., the foundation for a great text message initiative was already in place. Before the campaign even started, the chain had 8100 members on its contact list, all of whom were eager to hear about the latest deals and discounts. However, that didn’t stop the guys in charge from tweaking and fine tuning the promotion to ensure that these messages made the biggest splash with customers on the go. From the wording of the message to what kind of deals the franchise offered, optimizing the potency of these short messages with value and brevity proved to be the key to connecting with hungry customers.

The Text Message Particulars

As part of this marketing move, the franchise owners created a short, succinct message that got straight to the point – any pizza, any size, for two great prices. The first price, £6.99, was for takeout (or collection as it’s known across the pond), while the second, £8.99, covered customers that decided to have a hot and delicious pizza delivered straight to their doorsteps. You might have noticed that this promo didn’t come with any strings attached in the form of opt-in codes or limited time offers. Instead, Papa John’s left things open for sharing via word of mouth and social media, giving the sale even more reach beyond the 8100 members of the text message list.

Variety is the Spice of Life (and Great SMS Messages!)

It’s important to note that this simple, straightforward message had to include two different offers to accommodate the variety of customers a pizza chain in the U.K. or here, in Canada, services on a regular basis. Naturally, your business might not need to account for varying rates based on delivery expenses or other factors, but it shows a high level of foresight and transparency on the part of this Papa John’s franchise to clearly state the difference in charges. The opposite path, only providing the base rate of £6.99 in the message and then tacking on the delivery up-charge later, could have easily left a sour taste in the mouths of the customers who didn’t want to leave the comfort of their homes.

The Final Tally

After the dust settled and it was time to count the final numbers, there was no doubt that this Papa John’s franchise scored a major hit with its audience. Of the approximately 8100 customers contacted, 3.9 percent decided to take this pizza chain up on its offer. While that number isn’t too impressive on its own, learning that the store generated $8.10 for every $1.50 it spent on mobile marketing is outstanding. To wrap it up into a nice, simple stat, for each of the three weeks this campaign ran, the Papa John’s franchise generated an additional 33 percent in sales.

Writing Your Own Recipe for Success

After seeing numbers like that, it’s pretty clear that SMS marketing has a place in your brand’s overall advertising plans. If you want to reap the same rewards, there’s a few things you can do to follow this franchise’s lead. First off, keep your messages short and straight to the point, while also being as transparent with the parameters of the deal as possible. From here, make sure you make the discount worth their time and, if possible, let them share the savings with friends and family. If you can add these ingredients into your next mobile marketing campaign, you’re well on your way to writing up an award winning recipe for success of your own.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How a savory SMS marketing campaign turned a good burger deal into a great one for Carl’s Jr. restaurants across the U.S.

In a world of fine dining and dishes that have ingredients you’ve most likely never heard of, sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and bite into a hot and juicy hamburger. While most of the time that sentence alone is probably good enough, the guy’s over at Carl’s Jr. knew that they needed to really go the extra mile in order to keep sales up and help turn a steady trickle of customers into a veritable flood of hungry patrons. However, standing above all the other quick service restaurant (QSR) chains during the sizzling summer month of May isn’t exactly the easiest marketing goal to pull off.

Setting the Stage for SMS Success

So what was the best way to step out of the QSR crowd? If you’re familiar with this case study series, you know that the answer is a great SMS marketing campaign. By reaching out to customers on their phones, Carl’s Jr. tapped into a new way of getting in touch that not only kept their brand on the minds of these hungry shoppers, but also provided a new way to share some unbeatable deals. While it sounds simple at first, to really dig into Carl’s Jr. recipe for success, we’ll need to check this menu headliner out piece by piece.

Breaking down This Tasty Strategy

Let’s start with the basics. As part of any sound SMS campaign, Carl’s Jr. decided to come up with a great offer that clearly gave shoppers a reason to drop by their local restaurant. In this case, the big pitch was a $6 burger combo for only $2.99. To grab the limited time offer, customers on the SMS messaging list only needed to bring in a simple short code found in the text to any of the 1,369 locations. After this, taking a big sip from an ice cold drink and digging to a tasty burger and fries was all that was left on the agenda. Considering how convoluted some marketing techniques and sales pitches can be, it’s hardly a surprise that customers enjoyed such a simple and straightforward deal that came with real savings and mouthwatering food.

Gauging the Customer Response

It’s easy to say that Carl’s Jr. knocked this one out of the park, but chances are you want some real numbers to show just how great a well planned SMS campaign can really be. To start, 19 percent of the message list members decided to take part in the summer promo. That on its own is pretty impressive. However, the stat that really sets this case study apart from the others focuses on what’s going on at the register. For every $1 that Carl’s Jr. spent texting customers via this promotional, the QSR chain generated a whopping $14 in new sales. Even if you’re more of a chicken kind of person, it’s hard to deny that once the customers got the message and came through the doorway, they couldn’t get enough of this grilled to perfection deal.

What Makes Carl’s Jr. SMS Recipe so Enticing?

So all you need to make a great campaign like Carl’s Jr. is a top-notch product – a tasty hamburger for instance – and the ability to send off texts, right? Unfortunately, there’s still one more secret ingredient that really gets this recipe cooking. Instead of just shooting off a standard “come try our burgers” text, Carl’s Jr. tapped into a very powerful marketing fact that too many brands overlook; customers love pricing based offers. By showing the potential savings in a quick little text message, the burger chain made it pretty hard for hungry customers who love a good deal to keep driving past their local Carl’s Jr.

Cooking up Some Success of Your Own

While all of this is definitely a lot to take in, you can boil down the secret to Carl’s Jr.’s success to a few key points and plug them into your next SMS campaign. First, make the offer worth your customer’s time. Simply sending out messages that talk about how good your products are won’t get the job done. From here, limited time offers that put an emphasis on pricing and savings are some of the strongest motivators you can have on your side. Even if you’re not in the business of great food, these basic principles should be enough to get you on the path to following Carl’s Jr.’s lead and raking in some serious sales numbers.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: How savvy SMS marketing got the rhythm flowing at TAO Nightclub.

Few people can say no to a night at the club with good friends or maybe that special someone. From enjoying a couple drinks to getting your groove on as the DJ keeps the music rolling, you really have to go out of your way to not have fun. Unfortunately, TAO Nightclub’s slacking attendance quickly switched the dance tunes to the blues for the owners and managers. Fortunately, with some catchy SMS messages and a good eye for great timing, TAO Nightclub turned things around in a big way. If you’re wondering how, don’t worry – we’ve got all the details and a little insight into how it might fit into your mobile marketing strategy moving forward.

Setting the Stage for the Big Night

While plenty of other SMS marketing case studies focus on setting up a great text message database, this one’s a little different. Instead signing up new users for the first time, TAO Nightclub already had a thriving user list of 6,000 customers. With these partygoers serving as the foundation for the campaign, the club began laying the framework to help highlight the next big event on the calendar. As you’ll see, honing in on a big event ended up being the centerpiece for some special nights at the TAO.

Filling the Dance Floors with a Great Mobile Strategy

Unlike other companies covered in this series, most of which simply got behind coupons and called the process good (definitely a strong strategy), TAO Nightclub had to do things a little different. By making the text message an exclusive offer for an upcoming event, the club gave the mobile marketing list members a reward for joining the club. Naturally, throwing in a discount at the door didn’t hurt either. With this text message in hand, the text members got to show off at the door and save a few extra bucks while the rest of the crowd watched and waited in line.

Getting Particular with SMS Messages

Of course, the big secret to this campaign was that the messages only promoted the visiting DJs and weekly parties the night they happened. By doing this, TAO Nightclub helped drum up some hype and made the regular nights at the club even more exciting by giving the events a more personal feel. Instead of just a simple “come to our club” message, members of the text list received something that was closer to having a friend invite them to a big-time event that’s going down later that night and less like just your average night at the club.

The Final Tally

So once the doors closed and the employees cleaned up the bars and dance floors, what was the final tally on the night? As far as heads in the door go, the first run of the SMS marketing campaign brought in an extra 118 guys and 102 women to the club. In total, $1,770 worth of extra revenue via admission fees was good enough to call the whole deal a resounding success. However, people don’t just come to the club and skip out on drinks during the night. The 220 partygoers ended up spending an additional $4,400 in drinks by night’s end. Adding this on top of the usual crowd made for the first of many outstanding turnouts at the TAO Nightclub.

Where Do You Fit in?

While you might not be in the nightclub business, there are still quite a few lessons you can take from this case study and sneak into your own great SMS campaign. First off, it’s all about timing. By shooting off messages the day of the event, you can add a feeling of spontaneity and urgency to your marketing that might be lacking if you’re bludgeoning your viewers over the head with daily messages. Additionally, simply getting customers in your doors is a big deal. TAO Nightclub knew that giving discounts at the door naturally eats away at that specific revenue stream. However, these clubbers might not have even shown up if not for the discount – not to mention the massive amounts of cash spent at the bar by these event-goers during the night. In short, get them in the door with a great deal and your bottom line will thank you later.



The impact of mobile marketing can’t be overstated. According to IDC, more people in the U.S. will access the Internet through a mobile device than through their PC by 2015. In this new series, Elite Email takes a look at highly successful campaigns to uncover their mobile marketing lessons. This week’s case study: putting the perfect golden finish on a brand new SMS approach by following Seattle Sun Tan’s lead.

Everyone loves to revamp his or her style from time to time. Whether it’s picking up a new outfit or laying out for a while in the tanning bed to get that perfect bronze complexion, a new look can go a long way toward making a great impression the next time you’re out for a night on the town. In a lot of ways, your marketing campaign works in the same way – if you stay with the same look for too long, it’s impossible not to come off boring. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Seattle Sun Tan used a slick new SMS system to dazzle customers who were tired of the same old boring pitch.

Starting from Scratch

Being in the tanning business means you’ve always got to look your best, whether it’s in the shop while rubbing elbows with the customers or in the digital world with emails and text messages. As far as the execs over at Seattle Sun Tan were concerned, a fresh new style was the key to getting back in the good graces of customers on the go. To do this, a new campaign that focused on SMS messages was the perfect way to dazzle shoppers and get bodies back under the bright tanning bed lights.

How It Worked

By going with an SMS approach, Seattle Sun Tan needed to do something memorable, so the company hit on three big points to boost their marketing campaign. The first was creating a catchy way for customers to opt-in using the keyword “TANS” in conjunction with a vanity short code.

From here, giving shoppers what they want most – coupons – happened next. By offering $20 bucks for their next purchase, the company not only gave people a reason to get in the stores, but also enticed them to “buy up” and get a more expensive tanning package. Finally, getting people in gear with expiration dates ensured that these customers redeemed these SMS coupons and didn’t leave them floating around in cell phone limbo forever.

Going the Extra Mile

Now everything that Seattle Sun Tan had done up to this point was good, but good isn’t enough when you’re trying to really blow the customers away. In an effort to truly put this SMS campaign over the top, the company added in the aforementioned offer to its existing email database – which numbers over 80,000 members – as well as pumping up coverage on Facebook, Twitter, and all its other social media pages. Finally, showing off what shoppers could save by joining the texting list with posters and displays in store added a more traditional angle to the sleek new marketing approach.

A Great New Look

So what did Seattle Sun Tan get in return for changing up its marketing style with a smart SMS campaign? To start, the company created a text-messaging database that included 4,750 customers. Out of this database, 57 percent went through with a purchase using the SMS coupon, leading to an extra $196,101.87 in sales. Adding in that these customers generally spent 500 percent more once they got in the store is pretty impressive, to say the least. Oh and one more thing – these numbers are just for the first month of the new campaign – not too shabby for 31 days worth of text messages.

Planning Your Own Makeover

So what does all of this mean for you and your brand? First, Seattle Sun Tan’s story shows us that changing up your style and retooling how you reach out to customers can generate some serious results. However, jumping in headfirst without a smart strategy is just asking for your plans to crumble before they even get off the ground. By going with the SMS approach, and adding in some help from your email database and social media following, you can avoid flopping with customers and generate some major results in the registers. Whether you’re helping people get that perfect bronze color for a night out at the club or your business offers up something completely different, it doesn’t matter – as long as you nail the perfect marketing look with great SMS messages, you’ll be sure to knock customers off their feet every time.



Chocolates, hearts, cupid and….. emails!

Today Elite Email published the results of a study that analyzed the volume of emails scheduled for February 14, 2013 compared to last year.

You can view the full release here.

Overall, we found that email volume this year spiked a tremendous amount with an impressive 16% jump.

That is huge when you compare it to the 7% increase we witnessed in 2012 over 2011.

We reached out to some customers after they scheduled their email on Feb. 14 to get their take on why their volume was higher this year.

Lots of people said they have been aggressively trying to grow their mailing list. And, while size does not always equal engagement, having a larger audience of people to reach out to can certainly help. People reported that they put their mailing list signup forms/buttons in higher profile locations on their website, as well as adding a signup form to their Facebook page.

Many offline organizations said that they have been training their staff better with regards to the value of obtaining a customer’s email address. This has led to a substantial increase in new opt-in contacts.

When we ask this question we always get a lot of people telling us that they have boosted their email marketing efforts as a result of scaling back on traditional paper-based advertising. To their customers they claim they are becoming more eco-friendly, but ultimately we know that email provides better engagement, vastly superior analytics and a much greater ROI.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Elite Email Heart

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